Case Studies

Grinder & Haizlip Construction Co. Inc.: 20 Years of Building a Foundation of Trust

  • Written by: Grinder & Haizlip Construction Co. Inc.: 20 Years of Building a Foundation of Trust
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Diversification has been the name of the game at Grinder & Haizlip Construction Co. Inc. (GHC) since Greg Grinder and Henry Haizlip formed the company in 1992. The company provides the gamut of general contracting and project management services to both commercial and industrial clients. GHC aims to build long-term relationships with clients by approaching every project as just one stepping-stone along the path toward shared success. GHC employees represent a diverse array of construction and engineering professionals who come together to untangle complex projects mired in logistical challenges to simply deliver a high-quality finished product and a professional experience for the client.

“We’re mobile and agile and that’s what sets us apart,” beams Chris McDermott, vice president at GHC. GHC operates separate divisions to focus on commercial and industrial projects respectively, and the staff of 75 employees operates from shared headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. The commercial division specializes in providing construction management and general contracting services primarily, whereas the industrial division maintains a workforce large enough to self-perform much of the work required.

However, the GHC team maintains a fluid border between its divisions. The company employs a mix of LEED Accredited Professionals (including McDermott), a professional engineer, construction managers, concrete specialists and professionals with experience working in various construction trades. Maintaining a diversely trained team of employees allows GHC to better support clients by assembling teams of professionals to specifically address the needs of a given project. GHC professionals respond by shifting gears easily between commercial and industrial projects.

Vast experience and complete management of all necessary job requirements means GHC knows how to satisfy any job requirements throughout every phase. A project manager attends to the daily needs of every project, a general superintendent maintains complete control over the field workforce, and one of the two owners assumes oversight duties and performs regular site visits for every job. All of this together ensures each project stands as a testament to GHC’s quality and attentive customer service standards.

Reliable, Experienced, Dependable

GHC welcomes inquiries on projects of any size and insists that every project receive the same attentive consideration. “We’re solution guys,” expands McDermott. “We’re either able to say ‘yes’ on the spot or we’re just one phone call away from a solution.” To reinforce its capabilities the company maintains a team of in-house professionals with extensive experience in concrete construction and pre-engineered steel building construction, as well as specialties like excavation and site preparation.

For everything else, though, GHC reaches out to a network of reliable subcontractors with a proven track record and solid financials. These relationships have become especially important in the wake of the economic downturn and the subsequent pricing pressures in the public bid market. The company simply refuses to compromise its reputation and the client’s satisfaction by always working with the lowest bidder, regardless of that bidder’s qualifications for the job.

“The way we do business is not combative and it’s certainly not change order-oriented,” asserts McDermott. “It’s why clients appreciate and trust us, but it also means that there are just some jobs we’re not going win.” GHC stays content by focusing on its greatest strengths, since pursuing work with a long list of prospective bidders often results in bid proposals being accepted with unreasonably low amounts.

More often than not, GHC finds itself amongst a list of three similarly qualified general contractors or as the only general contractor on the list. GHC shines in both situations and works with the appropriate strategic partners to ensure clients receive the best possible value for the proposed budget. “We’re just not going to take on a subcontractor pursuing a project that is beyond their experience,” asserts McDermott. “It might mean we’re not going to go with the lowest bidder, but that’s because we’re looking for solid proposals and a team that will be able to work together within the client’s budget.”

Unwavering Commitment

GHC keeps to unwavering commitments: Always making decisions in the client’s best interests and always keep employees safe. The company’s client-focused operational philosophy has been able to harvest the fruits of long-time relationships born from the seeds of much smaller projects. Back in the 1990s, GHC responded to a phone call from a client in need of a single door and frame replacement at an oil refinery in Memphis, Tenn. “That one facility has since undergone five different changes in ownership, but we are still there providing plant maintenance services,” reveals McDermott, who adds, “That fact speaks to our ability to meet client expectations even in a demanding environment.”

Likewise, GHC landed a small project in 1994 replacing some bollards and a guardrail at a Fortune 500 express cargo terminal in Memphis, Tenn. Now, almost 20 years later, GHC continues to work for this client everyday on projects that vary from renovating a 500,000-square foot building to repairing taxiway concrete paving.

“We’re always looking to show our clients that we’re not just going to slough off the smaller projects until the bigger projects come around,” adds McDermott. “Our acceptance to do most anything we are asked has really kept us thriving throughout the economic downturn.”

GHC also took the opportunity to focus on establishing a foothold in the healthcare market. Already, GHC has landed contracts with four of the major health care providers in the Memphis area, which include the Baptist Memorial Health System, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

In doing so, GHC continues its legacy of continual diversification and McDermott is hopeful that the next few years will bring further opportunities to the GHC team. In the meantime, the team will continue to focus on building and maintaining long-lasting client relationships without compromising on quality, thus cementing Grinder & Haizlip Construction Co. Inc.’s position as a bastion of dependable contracting.

Published on: March 16, 2013

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